Honoring Mothers (and Daughters!) Everywhere
She Wore Emerald Then:
Reflections on Motherhood

Co-authored by award-winning poets
Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson
with photography by May Lattanzio

Moods of Motherhood: Thirty poems by award-winning poets Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson, with original photography by May Lattanzio.

A beautifully presented, tender and strikingly original gift book, ideal for Mother's Day or any day when you want to celebrate the notion of motherhood in its broadest sense.  Share this collection with someone you love.

Also named to MyShelf.com's 10 Best Reads
by Jennifer Akers.



Quick Links Learn More About Other Chapbooks in the Celebration Series
She Wore Emerald Then
Imagining the Future
Cherished Pulse Blooming Red
Deeper into the Pond Sublime Planet


For media enquiries or review copies, please contact Carolyn Howard-Johnson at HOJONEWS@aol.com, or Magdalena Ball at maggieball@compulsivereader.com


Quick Links to Buy the Celebration
Series as E-Books or Paperbacks
She Wore Emerald Then
Sublime Planet
Cherished Pulse Blooming Red
Deeper into the Pond Imagining the Future

The Authors

Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader. Her short stories, editorials, poetry, reviews and articles have appeared in a wide number of printed anthologies and journals, and have won local and international awards for poetry (including the Roland Robinson literary  award), and fiction. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment: How to Review Anything and two other poetry chapbooks Quark Soup, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Cherished Pulse and the other books in the Celebration Series.  She runs a monthly radio program podcast  www.blogtalkradio.com/compulsivereader

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's first novel, This is the Place, and Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered are both award-winners. Her fiction, nonfiction and poems appear in national magazines, anthologies and review journals. She speaks on culture, tolerance, writing and promotion and has appeared on TV and hundreds of radio stations nationwide. She is an instructor for UCLA Extension's Writers' Program and has shared her expertise at venues like San Diego State's world renowned Writers' Conference, Dayton University's Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop and SPAN's (Small Publishers Association of North America) annual conference. Carolyn  was recently awarded Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by the California Legislature; her home town's Character and Ethics Commission honored her for her work on promoting tolerance and the Pasadena Weekly named her to their list of "San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen" for literary activism. Her nitty-gritty how-to book, The Frugal Book Promoter won USA Book News' Best Professional Book 2004 and her chapbook of poetry, Tracings, was honored by the Military Writers' Society of America  for excellence. Published by Finishing Line Press it is available on Amazon 's new and used feature. 

The Photographer

May Lattanzio is not a stereotypical grandmother. She is a freelance writer, a poet, author, an animal and nature lover. When she first went digital ('cause she couldn't use a viewfinder anymore), she took her camera out onto her acres in NW Florida, concentrating on the many insects.

Sample Poems from
She Wore Emerald Then

Mother's Bed
y Magdalena Ball

In the restless night
when mortality lurks in every shadow
the blanket won’t cover your fear
and morning is a half-forgotten dream
vague and uncertain,
slink into my bed
the pillow holds a mother’s secret
whispered charm
you can sink your head into.

There are no demons here;
no whirlwind of memory and anticipation clouding
only eternal warmth
a shared space
free from the ticking illusion
of time, motion, and change.

Here, where you are always welcome
nothing matters
except this peace
this place
containing every possible now.

Could It Have Been Otherwise?
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson 

At eighty-eight, she (tired
of the twenty first century
before it has become school
age) pleads, weary

before dinner, eyes
too weak to read.

I turn on the TV,
grab a VCR to cheer
her. I'm too slow, way
too slow. Instead of
You're lookin’

swell, Dolly, she is treated
to Aulnay-sous-Bois'

streets aflame, backlash,
ghetto or banlieues

nothing new
in new millennium.

She Wore Emerald Then

Reviewed by L. B. Sedlacek for
Poetry Market

This poetry book is split into two sections: "The Genetic Code" (Ball) and "Dandelions in Autumn" (Howard-Johnson) with each section title page perfectly accompanied by one
of Lattanzio's pictures.

In "Coil of Life," Ball punctuates her "The Genetic Code" section with a jolting look at creation. "Take a single cell/tinier than the tip of a pencil/in its nucleus the DNA blueprint/ six billion pairs of nucleotides." The poem continues further on with "Binary fission/mitosis and cytokinesis/the cervix thins and dilates/the dreaming and waking cerebral cortex/already perfect signals uterine contractions/the Big Bang." Each poem weaves vivid
layers (somewhat of a verbal voltage) of life and existence. From "The Fading": "eyelids closed tightly against life/you create your own shadow/the steel bars/of your deviant past/shatter the illusion of freedom." Ball writes with a punch -- you won't fast forget her words.

The "Dandelions in Autumn" section(Howard-Johnson) is more focused on the later years of motherhood and/or mothers themselves. In "Mother and Daughter, The Thing I Learned from Depends and Other Events," Howard-Johnson's poem deals with a daughter taking care of an elderly mother "... she cannot find/her words, or the beans/on her plate. Now merely a leafhusk,/I cannot find the strength/to place her head upon a pillow.//I pre-order stew with chunks/chopped to the size of peas." Each poem seems to pull from days gone by capturing a daughter's journey from child to caretaker of one's mother. The visuals - "offers us her favorite dish, whipped/cream, crusted Heath bars, melted/Marshmallows (without
the rum Mother/would have added)" from "Across the Hall from Mother" - are stunning and leverage accordingly within each line.

Lattanzio's pictures add a blast of scenic flavor to the book. They are chosen and placed at just the right spots.

"She Wore Emerald Then" is a tribute to mothers everywhere.

~L.B. Sedlacek's poems have most recently appeared in "Ginosko," "Pure Francis," and "Testing the Waters" poetry anthology. L.B.'s latest chapbook is "I Am My Neighborhood Watch."

This review first appeared in The Poetry Market Ezine: Each monthly issue features poetry markets and poetry contests plus news and a review of a poetry book or chapbook. Free to subscribe. at poetrymarket-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.


Reviewed by Kristin Johnson, founder of Warrior Poets

"What relationship is more complex or more elemental than the mother-child bond? Abraham Lincoln said, 'All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.' Toni Morrison wrote, 'Grown don't mean nothing to a mother.  A child is a child.  They get bigger, older, but grown?What's that suppose to mean?  In my heart it don't mean a thing.'

Both of those quotes, as well as one by Honore de Balzac at the beginning of SHE WORE EMERALD THEN, perfectly describe this collection of poems by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball---poetry that catches at your soul. Both of them reprise their poems from Ball's QUARK SOUP, Howard-Johnson's TRACINGS, and their joint collection, CHERISHED PULSE. Fans of CHERISHED PULSE will be pleased to learn that the poets continue to write poems that don't sound either like banal Hallmark cards or the bitter-at-dysfunctional-family jeremiads that habitually torture MFA writing workshop participants.

The two poets complement each other (with words accompanied by stunning photography by May Lattanzio). The opus covers both the grand sweep of the birth of all universal life and the private universe populated by only an adult daughter watching her mother struggle to eat dinner and remembering how her mother washed her one slip. While Ball explores the cosmic continuum and traces us all back to the mother spark that set the stars burning, Howard-Johnson concentrates her portraiture on the deeply personal. But Ball also talks about the oxytocin haze of giving birth and her mother vomiting from cancer drugs. To quote the last poem in the collection, 'Hallmark Couldn't Possibly Get This Right.' When you read about the tough love of the universe or Ball's sienna childhood photograph or Howard-Johnson's mother forgetting her name, you want to cry and hug your mother (and your children, if you have them), because they capture the eternal tug of war between joy and sorrow in the mother-child bond."
~ Kristin Johnson, poet, author, screenwriter and founder of the Poet Warrior Project.Wordle: Hallmark Couldn't Possibly Get this Right


Review for
She Wore Emerald Then

Reflections on Mothers and Motherhood

Reviewed by Helena Harper

This is a collection of poetry that movingly illustrates many aspects of motherhood and, if you are a poetry lover, there is much that you will find appealing and thought-provoking. In the first half of the book, the poems by Magdalena Ball have a cosmic quality to them and some wonderful imagery. In the poem 'Coil of Life', for example, giving birth is described as the 'Big Bang' and in 'Assault by a Black Hole', the reader is taken on a journey from the sublime to the commonplace and you can't help but smile:

A powerful jet from a black hole
is blasting nearby galaxy 3C321
with outrageous galactic violence
x-rays, gamma rays
particles traveling the speed of light
tearing ozone layers
destroying alien life forms
and breeding new star systems
a million primordial sons
in the lethal pummelling.
Talk about tough love.

In the face of that million year
(a fraction of the system’s lifetime)
I suppose I have no right
to complain
about one smart, sharp smack
sent my way
to facilitate a few manners.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's poems have, by contrast, a homely down-to-earthness which also appeals. I loved her description of dandelion petals in the poem 'Dandelions in Autumn':

Yellow petals, pollen-soft
like monarchs' wings.

Little lions' manes
like illustrations in childrens' 

books, not like roaring
Serengeti cats 

or the MGM logo lion, harmless
these. I pick them, bunch them,

hold them under Mama's chin
to see if they light her throat 

yellow, and if they do, delight!

In the poem 'Musing Over a New Calendar', the author reflects on the passage of time - how there is still so much she wants to do and see, yet her ageing mother is 'alone, rejecting all but her home'. I felt the author's pain in these lines as I did in the poem 'Mother and Daughter' where she describes her job of 'mothering again', but this time it is not her children who need her help but her own elderly mother:

...I take over seatbelt
duties, step ahead of her then stop,
reluctant for her to know she's slow.

We all forget names, I say as numb

moves from hand to heart
because it is my name she has forgotten.

Yet, despite such painful memories and associations, perhaps the strongest is the 'eternal warmth' of our mother's bed – as Ms. Ball puts it – 'a shared space/ free from the ticking illusion/ of time, motion and change./ Here, where you are always welcome/ nothing matters/ except this peace/ this place/ containing every possible now.'
~ Helena Harper, poet and author of "It's a Teacher's Life...!" 

Read Willie Elliott's review of She Wore Emerald Then for MyShelf: http://www.myshelf.com/miscellaneous/09/sheworeemeraldthen.htm.

Podcast Readings and Broadcasts

Magdalena Ball often read selections from her portions of the Celebration series in her dreamy voice with a slight Aussie accent and she and Carolyn have been guests on dozens of online broadcasts and radio talking about the mystique of poetry, promoting poetry, and other poetry themes.

Listen to me read poems from She Wore Emerald Then in my gravelly voice on an AuthorsRead podcast with Lillian Brummet.

Buy Links for Carolyn's Books

Great Fiction
HARKENING at Amazon in their new and used feature.
Both of these books are out of print. They are available only on Amazon's New and Used feature for about $1.

Great Poetry
Purchase TRACINGS (Finishing Line Press) at Amazon.
IMPERFECT ECHOES: Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters,
lie and oppression with Small

Give the gift of poetry with a chapbook from Magdalena Ball's
My Celebration Series

CHERISHED PULSE: Unconventional Love Poetry
IMAGINING THE FUTURE: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions
SHE WORE EMERALD THEN: Reflections on Motherhood
BLOOMING RED: Christmas Poetry for the Rational
DEEPER INTO THE POND: Celebration of Femininity
SUBLIME PLANET: Celebrating Earth and the Universe

HowToDoItFrugally Series for Writers
Second Edition

Survive and Thrive Series of HowToDoItFrugally Books for Retailers

Most of Carolyn's books are also available for the Kindle reader.
Did you know that with the Free app, Kindle can be adapted to any reader--even your PC!

Special Blooming Red Christmas Chapbook
Greeting Card Offer


Careers that are not fed die as readily as
any living organism given no sustenance." 
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Studio photography by Uriah Carr
3 Dimensional Book Cover Images by iFOGO
Logo by Lloyd King


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~ Quote from Diana Schneidman, author



Poetry Gift-Giving Tip

Word Art from may be made from your poems or those of others with permission.  This fun digital tool is created by www.wordle.net  The service is free. Any poet  or poetry lover may use it. (-: Maggie and I give our permission to use our poems to create (even frame!) something special for your loved ones. Have fun with them. But please credit both the poet you choose and the book or chapbook from which it comes.

Find at least one tip on writing, promotion, or tech on every page of this Web site.

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Carolyn's Poetry Books and Chapbooks at a Glance

Cover art by Vicki Thomas, Poetry by Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson

"Cherished Pulse is full of poems that describe love from the eyes and hearts of young and old. We see love in its youthful stage, stirring the hearts of man and woman alike and tying a bond that even death cannot break. As we continue reading, we understand that love deepens into an awesome, but quiet joy as the couple grows older. These poems renew our faith in love as they remind us of our own experience with this most sought after emotion."
~ Lucille P Robinson for Alternative-Read.com


Third in the Celebration of Chapbooks with Magdalena Ball, Imagining the Future is written expressly for fathers "and other masculine apparitions."

She Wore Emerald Then is a book of Moods of Motherhood: thirty poems by award-winning poets Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson, with original photography by May Lattanzio. A beautifully presented, tender and strikingly original gift book, ideal for Mother's Day or any day when you want to celebrate the notion of motherhood in its broadest sense.  Share this collection with someone you love.

More on Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational on this Web site.

Sublime Planet is an e-chapbook and paperback published in the time-honored tradition of poets everywhere. This collection of ecologically oriented poems traverses a wide terrain, moving from the loss of species to the beauty of the natural world, from drought to the exploration of alternative planets. It's an exhilarating collection that breaks boundaries and leads the reader deep into the personal heart of perception. Released by award winning poets Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball to celebrate Earth Day, this is a collection of poetry that weaves the personal with the universal. Photograpy by Ann Howley.

“Whatever your age these poems celebrating women will speak to you of times to look forward to or to remember. These are not poems to be read once. They will stay with you forever.” ~ Nancy Famolari, author.

Also by Carolyn:

Tracings is winner of the Military Society of America's Award of Excellence and named to the Compulsive Reader's Ten Best Reads of 2005

Imperfect Echoes is Carolyn's newest poetry book. Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters, lie and oppression with Small. 

Cover and interior art by Richard Conway Jackson
All proceeds go to Amnesty International

Reading Tip

If you like poetry with an edge, please research poetry by Suzanne Lummis, my UCLA instructor and mentor. Her In Danger is a delight.

Find at least one tip on writing, promotion or tech on every page of this Web site. 

Carolyn's Awards

Awards for Carolyn's Books, Blogs and More

The New Book Review
Named to
Master's in English.org Online Universities'

101 Essential Sites for Voracious Readers

Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites
Sharing with Writers blog.


Best Book Award for The Frugal Book Promoter (2004) and The Frugal Editor (2008) and the Second Edition of The Frugal Book Promoter (2011).


Reader Views Literary Award for The Frugal Editor

New Generation Award for Marketing and Finalist for The Frugal Editor

Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award

Military Writers Award of Excellence for
Tracings, A Chapbook of Poetry.

A Retailer's Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotion wins author Military Writers Society of America's Author of the Month award for March, 2010


Gold Medal Award from Military Writers Society of America, 2010. MWSA also gave a nod to She Wore Emerald Then, a chapbook of poetry honoring mothers.

The Frugal Editor Named #! on Top Ten Editing Books list.

Finalist New Generation Book Awards 2012, The Frugal Book Promoter; Finalist 2010 The Frugal Editor;
Winner 2010 Marketing Campaign for the Frugal Editor

The Oxford Award
the alumna who exemplifies the Delta Gamma precept of service to her community and who, through the years, devotes her talents to improve the quality of life around her.

The Frugal Book Promoter is runner-up in the how-to category for the Los Angeles Book Festival 2012 awards.

Glendale City Seal
Winner Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts
Glendale California's Arts and Culture Commission and the City of Glendale Library,

And more than a dozen other awards for Carolyn's novel, short story collection and poetry. See the awards page on this site.

Proud to Support

World Wild Life

with Sublime Planet
book of poetry
Earth Day

Featured in
Pasadena Weekly
Arts and Entertainment Section

All Proceeds to be donated to the World Wildlife Fund

Carolyn's New Book Review Blog Featured...

...as essential site at

Online Universities'
101 Book Blogs You Need to Read